With uncertainty about whether this season will resume, it’s hard for NBA teams to plan for what comes next beyond the current shutdown. But eventually they will move on, whether after the resumption of the season or a cancellation, and will have to work through the offseason roster moves.
According to a report on ESPN.com, though, NBA teams are united in hopes of encouraging the league to push back the draft, scheduled for June 25, to no sooner than Aug. 1. The hope is that it will allow teams time to conduct the predraft process of working out prospects whose own seasons were cut short.
The current schedule calls for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 19 and the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago from May 21-24.
League sources indicated that no decisions have been made on how contracts eventually will be worked to account for the shutdown. For example, if the league were to resume play in July, contracts already would have hit their expiration date. A moratorium has been in place on any trades or signings during the shutdown.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking on an NBA Together Twitter talk Monday, indicated that no decision on when or if the season can be resumed will come until May 1 at the earliest. While President Donald Trump has spoken about restarting the economy in May, Silver and the NBA’s teams and players have much to consider regarding the feasibility of finishing this season. That ultimately will dictate how far back the draft would need to be pushed.
“We should accept that at least for the month of April, we won’t be in any position to make any decisions,” Silver said Monday. “The fact is now, sitting here today, I know less in a way than I did when the league shut down]. I think in some ways as I listen to the public health experts and the people that are advising us, the virus is potentially moving faster than maybe we had thought at that point and that, therefore, may peak earlier.
“What that means in terms of our ability to come back in late spring or early summer is still unknown to me. Essentially, what I’ve told my folks over the last week is that we should just accept that, at least, for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decision.”
The college seasons were cut off before tournament play. ESPN reported that in a memo, the NBA informed teams that organizations are prohibited from conducting in-person workouts or interviews with draft-eligible players until further notice. NBA teams will be allowed to conduct virtual interviews with draft prospects but are limited to four hours total for any single player. ESPN also reported that the memo indicated teams are prohibited from requesting video of recent workouts of players outside the team environment.